Assumptions about Communication/Cool Hand Luke

Suzette Haden Elgin ocls at MADISONCOUNTY.NET
Sun Feb 25 13:51:50 UTC 2001

Gerald van Koeverden wrote:
"It's the same in commercials.  The advertiser tries to associate some postive
feelings or reinforcement with the product he is selling.  When this
results in a
purchaser buying the product, we say that that communication was successful.
However, if the viewer rejects that association of those particular
feelings with
that product, we say that the communication has failed."

It seems to me that if commercials are to be part of this discussion we
would need to consider the evidence -- which tells us that when commercials
establish positive feelings people often remember the commercial but not
the name of the product it was selling or the company/brand responsible. By
contrast, when commercials establish negative feelings -- including disgust
or repulsion -- they almost always remember the product's
name/brand/company, and it's well established that this leads to higher
sales. In terms of "success" or "failure" of the communication, this sets
advertising communication significantly apart from most other human
language interactions. Mingling the two forms is likely to lead to
substantial confusion.

Suzette Haden Elgin

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